Since September 8, 2012, I have now approached approximately 800 of our fellow citizens, asking for their “support of a Constitutional right to vote and for the prohibition of private money from federal elections.” Of course the proposal contains more than that, but my experience shows that this specific concise intro has the best potential for establishing a halt in people’s momentum as they begin to pass me by. (I’m also open to any marketing suggestions people might have, and I have received a few.) I suppose it’s another variation on “Don’t just do something, stand there,” a concept I find to be of great value: Standing there and contemplating, standing there and being for something, standing there and available for hope to approach and stop to visit, standing there to be serenaded (on two occasions) by a pair of ravens roaming the sky above me.
I arrive at that estimate of 800 fellow citizens (well, actually, they’re not all fellow citizens because a number of people tell me they’re from Canada or somewhere in Europe) based upon my initial run of 500 copies of the 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 leaflet that you can download here. I now have only about 15 left. So, 485 contacts have been successful to the extent of willing hands reaching out to consider my proposal (or at least polite enough to take a copy, which is not any guarantee of actual consideration, but I have watched many people walk away reading it, or some walking and then stopping and reading it.). Two people have actually gotten back out of their cars and asked for a second copy! And of course many have had a variety of responses—including no response, which is a response—which did not result in any potential exchange of free speech, ideas, and hope for Constitutional change. Yet many have stopped to discuss the proposal, and many have expressly voiced their appreciation for what I’m doing. We all like to get good strokes like that for whatever we’re doing: It’s a human, or perhaps even a social animal thing.
However, what I find most important, most hopeful, are the tens of people who stop, take the leaflet, and attempt to look deeply into my eyes to see if this guy and this idea are really for real. The answer, which is self-evident, but perhaps not clearly enough, is that It’s as real as you want to make it. The reality of it gets clearer with each person who decides that this proposal is something they want. Then, what is essentially left for them to do is to tell just one other person. That’s called a movement.
I was standing waiting for a bus one day and thinking about metaphors for this process. I thought of an oak tree. There are not many oaks around this part of the country but where I lived most of my life back East, every year the ground (and millions of gray squirrels, European invaders) was blessed by millions, if not billions, of acorns. So I thought of an acorn planted: How long does it take to sprout? Well, this “acorn” took about twenty years, but then due to my own research and writing projects, and Tea Party, Arab Spring, and Occupy, the acorn suddenly “sprouted.” Now I’m just trying to make sure it gets a little water, its regular share of rays, and as many people as I can persuade to stop and wonder at its grandeur and essential practical benefits. It is possible that, one day—some day, it will evolve to become a whole forest.